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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-17-2012, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Question Genetics of Fear.... "Experts", please chime in:

I have a very dear friend who has a Dalmatian mix that she rescued aroung 9 months or so (maybe a year). She is now 4 years old. The dog has fear issues, submissive peeing issues, and has bitten one person (not badly) some time ago (the person was leaning over the dog to hug my friend's father, while the dog was in his lap). My friend says the dog was possibly abused when young. I don't have the specifics, although I believe the dog was rescued as a pup. The rescue put her out with another terrier for "socialization".

My feelings are that much of Sassy's issues are genetics. My friend, who admits she hasn't done any training with her, thinks it's all because she was "abused" and a rescue. I think that because she's been in a good environment for so long that this points to genetics moreso. She thinks once abused, always fearful. It's not clear (at least to me) what kind of abuse the dog underwent, or even if there was any.

I'm finding it hard to explain the role of genetics coherently to her. She is very versed in human genetics regarding the role of cancer in humans, and she is not buying the role of genetics in terms of dogs temperaments.

So--can some of you please advise, so I can point her to this thread? I've tried explaining about how some dogs can be raised in a kennel with very little human interaction and still come out stable, solid and excellent companion dogs, whereas other dogs have good owners, excellent training, and still will always have to be managed due to genetic fear aggression, but I don't think I'm doing it well. I've tried explaining that dogs that bark aggressively at people are often NOT protective, but rather fearful. I'm doubtful she thinks I know what I'm talking about.

So I'm hoping for some "expert" explanation that I can give her for reference. Links to prior threads are good too. I did try searching under "genetically fearful" and "fear and genetics" and "fear aggression" but didn't really find what I want.

Also, I was unsure of what forum to put this in, so if someone thinks it would be viewed more somewhere else, feel free to move.

~Elrond's Rocket of Rivendell, aka The RocketDog
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Last edited by gagsd; 12-17-2012 at 07:52 PM. Reason: req per OP
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